Short Notes - Indian Geography

Category : UPSC





  • India is the seventh largest country in the world.
  • It covers an area of 32,87,2631 sq. km. lying entirely in the Northern Hemisphere, the mainland extends measuring 3214 km from the north to the south between extreme latitudes and about 2933 km from east to west between extreme longitudes.
  • It has a land frontier of about 15200 km.
  • India is situated north of the Equator between 8°4' and 37°6' north latitude and 68°7' and 97°25' east longitude and is surrounded by the Bay of Bengal in the East, the Arabian Sea in the West and the Indian Ocean to the South.
  • The Gulf of Mannar and the Palk Straits separate India from Sri Lanka.
  • There are as many as 200 islands in Andaman alone.


Four end points of India:


Eastern most point - Kibithu in Arunanchalpradesh

Western most point - Ghuar Mota of kutch in Gujarat

Northern most point – Siachen glacier in state of Jammu and Kashmir

Southern most point Indira point of Kanyakumari district in Tamilnadu.


Mountain Ranges in India


  • The Himalayan Range is the world's highest mountain range.
  • The tallest peak of the world, Everest, is also a part of it.
  • Karakoram Range lies in Jammu and Kashmir and comprises more than 60 peaks.
  • K2 (Mount Godwin Austen) is the second highest peak of the world, also a part of this range. Its height is 8611m or 28,251 fit.
  • Shivalik Hills extend from the Arunachal Pradesh to West Bengal and from Uttarakhand to Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh. Jammu, Kangra and Vaishno Devi are a part of this range.
  • Vindhya Range spreads across central India and extends across 1,050 km.
  • Aravalli Range is India's oldest mountain range and spreads across the parts of Rajasthan, Delhi Haryana. Guru Shikhar in Mount Abu is the highest peak of this range,
  • Satpura Range stretches from Gujarat and runs to Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh.



Mountain Passes of India

Himalayan passes

·                        Banihal pass - between Doda and Anantnag (Jawahar Tunnel), J & K.

·                        Shipki La -     River Sutlej enters India from Tibet, Himachal Pradesh.

·                        Bara Lachan La -    between Kyelang and Leh, Himachal Pradesh.

·                        Rohtang pass -        between Kullu and Kyelang, Himachal Pradesh.

·                        Bomdila pass -        between Tezpur and Tawang, Arunachal Pradesh.

Himalayan passes between India and China

·                        Shipki La -                             Himachal Pradesh.

·                        Thaga La and Niti La -         Uttarakhand.

·                        Lipu Lekh La -                       Tri-junction, India-Nepal-China, Uttarakhand.

·                        Jelep La -                               Between India and China (Gangtok-Lhasa Road) Sikkim.

·                        Nathu La -                              Between India and China (Entry to Chumbi Valley) Sikkim.

Trans Himalayan passes

·                        Karakoram pass and Aghil pass -       Jammu & Kashmir.

Passes in Western Ghats

·                        Palghat -                                   between Palakkad and Coimbatore.

·                        Shenkota -                            between Kollam and Madurai.

·                        Thalghat -                                 between Mumbai and Pune.

·                        Bhorghat -                                 between Mumbai and Nasik.


Some important facts about peaks

  • Highest Mt. Peak in India: K2 or Godwin Austin
  • Highest peak in Aravalli: Gurushikhar (in Mt. Abu)
  • Highest peak in Satpura: Dhupgarh (Mahadeo Hills)
  • Highest peak in E. Ghats: Mahendragiri (Orissa)
  • Highest peak in W. Ghats: Anaimudi (Annamalai Hills - Kerala)
  • Highest peak in Nilgiris: Doda Betta
  • Hills in Southern Hill complex : Nilgiri, Annamalai, Cardamom & Palani
  • Hills in Eastern Ghats: Shevaroy, Javadi, Palkonda, Nallamalai, Northern Circars
  • Oblique ranges to Western Ghats in Maharashtra: Ajanta, Satmala, Harishchandra, Balaghat
  • Satpura range from East to West: Amarkantak - Maikal- Mahadeo - Gawilgarh - Rajpipala
  • Highest peak in Andaman and Nicobar islands : Saddle Peak
  • The highest peak of Naga hills is Saramati peak.


Western Ghats: This is the north Eastern part of Deccan plateau and lies parallel to the western edge of Deccan plateau. The extensive stretch is 1600 km long and stretches from Maharashtra to Kanyakumari.

Eastern Ghats: On the contrary Eastern Ghats are discontinuous and irregular as they are dissected bt rivers. The averages height is 300-600 m along the 600 m length.


Difference between Eastern Ghats and Western Ghats

Western Ghats

Eastern Ghats

Form a continuous water divide.

Discontinuous and dissected by rivers.

Can be crossed through passes

Series of detached hills

Higher than Eastern Ghats

Lower than Western Ghats

Face Arabian sea and run along the western plateau

Face Bay of Bengal and run along the Eastern Plateau

Comparatively narrow

Comparatively broader

Highest Peak-Anaimudi

Highest Peak-Mahendragiri



International Boundaries with India

  • India shares its international boundaries with Pakistan in the West, Nepal, China and Bhutan in the North-East.
  • It is surrounded by Burma and Bangladesh to the East.
  • Sri Lanka is located in the South of India.
  • Radcliffe line separates India and Pakistan.
  • The McMahan Line is the effective boundary between India and China.
  • The Durand Line is boundary between India-Afghanistan   and Pakistan-Afghanistan.


Indo-Gangetic Plains

  • The Indo-Gangetic plain is dominated by three major rivers - the Ganges, Indus and Brahmaputra.
  • It covers a large area, about 7,00,000 sq km in Northern and Eastern India.
  • The plain consists of four divisions:
  1. The Bhabar Belt: It is a narrow belt which is located in the foothills of the Himalayas.
  2. The Terai Belt: It is located in the southern part of the Bhabar region and made up of newer alluvium.
  3. The Bangar Belt: It includes older alluvium and has a low hill in the Gangetic plain, which is covered by the laterite deposits.
  4. The Khader Belt: It is located on the lower side of the Bhabar belt and made up of new alluvium, which is brought by the rivers which flow down the plain.


The Peninsular Plateau

  • Peninsular plateau    with    its characteristic    features    includes shallow valleys and rounded hills. It is divided into three different plateaus:
  1. The Deccan Plateau: The plateau area is triangular in shape and surrounded by the Vindhyas and the Western and Eastern Ghats.
  2. The Malwa Plateau: The Malwa plateau is distributed in parts of Gujarat, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh.
  3. The Chota Nagpur plateau: It is located in Eastern India. Chota Nagpur plateau covers part of Jharkhand, Bihar, Odisha and Chhattisgarh.


The Thar Desert

  • The Thar desert extends across Gujarat, Haryana and Punjab; and covers more than 60% of the geographical area of Rajasthan. The region is also called as 'MARUSTHALI
  • Luni is the seasonal river and gets very little rainfall.
  • It has an arid climate and vegetation is sparse.
  • Ghaggar flows through Rajasthan and disappears at the heart of the Thar Desert,


Major Island Group

Two major island groups are situated on either side of Indian peninsula. Andaman and Nicobar island group lies on the eastern part, i.e. in Bay of Bengal and Lakshadweep island group lies on the western part of India. i.e. in Arabian Sea.

Altogether there are 247 smaller islands from which 204 are in Bay of Bengal and 43 islands are in Arabia Sea.


Rainfall in India

  • More than 80% of annual rainfall is received in the four rainy month from June to September.
  • The average annual rainfall is about 125cm.




Rain fall Distribution in India



Amount of Rain fall

Heavy Rainfall (>200 cm)

Moderately Heavy Rainfall ( 100-200 cm )

Less Rainfall ( 50-100 cm )

 Scanty Rainfall < 50 cms


West coasts, on the Western Gnats, Sub- Himalayan areas in North East  and Meghalaya

Hills, Assam, West

Bengal, Southern

slopes of Eastern


Southern parts ofGujarat, East Tamil Nadu, North-eastern Peninsula,  Western

Ghats, Eastern


Madhya Pradesh,

Odisha, the middle Ganga valley.

Upper Ganga valley, eastern Rajasthan, Punjab, Southern  PIateau of  Karnataka,

Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu.

Northern part of  ashmir, Western  ajasthan, Punjab and Deccan PIateau,




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